This period between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the playoffs is rather strange. It reminds one of the All Star break. Everyone is flying forward at full speed, pauses for a few days and then hits the ground running again. This pause and a little research has resulted in today’s post.
Here are some thoughts and observations about our Astros:
- Does anything better show the distance this team has traveled more than this? In the last three years the team has won 311 games. In the FIVE years (2010-2014) they won only 308 games.
- A part of “ancient” history former Astro Matt Dominguez, who hasn’t played for the Astros in 5 seasons and nowhere else in 2 seasons is only 3 weeks older than George Springer.
- The 2012 Astros were led in runs by Jose Altuve with 80 runs, Justin Maxwell was second with 46 runs. The 2019 Astros have five guys with more runs than Altuve (including Jose) and 9 players with as many or more than Maxwell. Alex Bregman led the team with 122 runs scored.
- The 2012 Astros were led in HRs by Maxwell with 18. This year’s version of the team has seven players with more than that, led by Bregman’s 41 dingers.
- The 2012 Astros were led in RBIs by J.D. Martinez with 55. 2019??? Nine players have more than 55 RBIs this year, led by…..Bregman again with 112.
- Nothing is ever a sure thing in the playoffs. The Brewers thought they had the Nats just where they wanted them, up 2 runs with former Astro farm hand Josh Hader (37 of 44 on saves this season) on the mound to close. The Nats get 3 runs (2 earned) off Hader and the Brewers head home.
- The playoffs are such small sample sets that slumps and streaks get magnified beyond the norm. In 2017, George Springer is almost useless against the Yankees and then in a 4 K first game against the Dodgers and then goes on a tear to win WS MVP. Marwin Gonzalez goes 11 for 61 (.180 BA) in the three playoff series in 2017, but hits the most impactful HR in Astros history in giving the team new life in the Game 2 classic win against the Dodgers.
- Do I believe in jinxes? Maybe. I had to cringe a little when one of the local sports talk guys pointed out that Gerrit Cole had not lost in his last 22 starts – going 16-0 and the team going 20-2 in those starts.
- Does it matter who the Astros play in the playoffs? Maybe statistically it does make a difference, that some of the teams are worse matchups than others, but in the end they have to take out three very good to excellent teams. There is no really easy path at this point.
- It is a little nutty that something like five playoff roster spots may still be up in the air two days before the Astros start the ALDS. https://chipalatta.com/2019/09/30/astros-alds-roster-some-tough-choices/ In truth it is likely that the team has one roster ready to go to face the A’s and another ready to go to face the Rays. Or they may have two versions of each – one with and one without Carlos Correa for both opponents. But it is not likely that the powers that be will be flipping coins over this on game day.
- Alex Bregman with a .296 BA/.423 OBP/1.015 OPS slash and 122 runs/41 HRs/112 RBIs in 156 games will likely be 1st or 2nd in the AL MVP race vs. Mike Trout. If you factored George Springer’s numbers from his 122 games played to 156 games – he would be sitting at .292 BA/ .383 OBP/ .974 OPS with 123 runs/ 50 HRs/123 RBIs. That might have submarined any chance Bregman had of winning the MVP as there would be real debate on who was the MVP for the team.
So, any thoughts today as we await the Astros opponent and the Astros’ playoff roster for the ALDS?